Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei threatened the United States Wednesday with “retaliation” for what he claimed was a U.S. breach of the nuclear agreement, JCPOA, that came into effect at the beginning of 2016.
The Iranian leader was referring to the decision to extend the Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, for 10 years by the House of Representatives last week.
The law went into effect in 1996 and was meant to deter Iran’s development of nuclear weapons by punishing investments in the energy industry in the country.
Before it is enacted, the new bill must also pass through the Senate and be signed by President Barack Obama.
Khamenei told a gathering of members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that the current U.S. government has breached the nuclear deal “on many occasions.”
“The latest is an extension of sanctions for 10 years, that if it happens, would surely be against JCPOA, and the Islamic Republic would definitely react to it,” he added.
He did not elaborate on the nature of the retaliation, however Khamenei had previously threatened to “set fire” to the deal after President-elect Donald Trump said he would “rip up” the JCPOA.
Obama’s reaction to Khamenei’s latest threat to the United States was to issue licenses to the French aircraft producer Airbus to sell 106 commercial planes to Iran Air.
The president did this despite the adoption of another bill by the House of Representatives that was meant to “block the sale of commercial aircraft by Boeing and Airbus to Iran,” according to Reuters.
Under the JCPOA, Boeing has been exempted from the sanctions that still remain in place.
The U.S. aircraft manufacturer closed a $25 billion sale of commercial planes to Iran in June, but the House tried to block the deal by adopting a bill that would prohibit banks from financing the transaction.
Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., co-author of the bill wrote “even the president’s own State Department has declared Iran ‘the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism’”
The issuing of the license to Airbus endangers “our men and women in uniform as well as those of our allies,” Huizenga concluded.
But Obama remained unfazed and also ignored a letter sent to him by Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce urging him not to take “further action that bolsters international investment in Iran in the post-election period.”
The Administration is now reportedly considering issuing more licenses for U.S. companies that want to do business with Iran.
According to Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Obama is “trying to make it more difficult for the next administration to vigorously enforce or renegotiate the (nuclear) deal.”
Dubowitz said that it could be problematic for Trump to reverse the measures Obama is currently taking but he warned U.S. companies that “they may get caught in the buzzsaw of a new administration furious about its predecessor’s attempt to jam them.”
A day after Obama issued the license to Airbus, The Jerusalem Post published a report that proved Huizenga right when he said that the sale of commercial planes to Iran endangers “our men and women in uniform as well as those of our allies.”
The Israeli English language paper reported that Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., had sent an urgent letter to the Security Council members, in which he revealed that Iran was using its fleet of commercial airplanes to smuggle weapons and ammunition to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“The Iranian Al-Quds Force packs weapons, ammunition and missile technology to Hezbollah in suitcases and puts them on Mahan Air flights,” Danon wrote in his letter.
He added that “these planes fly directly to the airport in Lebanon or Damascus and from there the weapons are transferred on the ground to Hezbollah.”
The use of civilian aircraft for the delivery of arms and ammunition to Hezbollah constitutes a violation of Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 1701 and 2231.
The Obama administration has yet to react to the revelation by Israel’s UN ambassador.
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